I read this as an ARC about a month ago. Thank you to G.P. Putnam for making it available to me to read. **May contain minor Spoilers**
Where we left off after Warcross, Hideo had betrayed Emika and really everyone else who uses his Nuerolink lenses by releasing his algorithm that effects how people think and makes it impossible to commit crimes. Zero who was Emika’s original quarry might now be the ally that she needs to stop Hideo but can he be trusted because after all, he did try to kill her. That would put a damper on any relationship. Can she ever forgive Hideo for what he is doing? And who is Zero and the blackcoats? Are their goals really the same as hers?
If that wasn’t enough, her actions in the Warcross championships has made her the hero to some and cheater to others. Emika has a lot going on but that doesn’t stop her from doing what she thinks is the right thing to do, even if that means going against the man she loves. A lot has happened to Emika in her short life. Her father died and she was placed in foster care. She ran away and lived on the streets only to support herself by becoming a bounty hunter. She’s an incredible hacker that is what brought her into this to begin with but she’s used to everything on her own. The greatest growth that she had was learning that she doesn’t have to do everything on her own. That she has friends who are willing to carry some of the load for her and when things get even more complicated and she doesn’t know who to trust that friendship becomes even more important. In Wildcard, we finally learn what really happened to Sasuke, Hideo’s younger brother and it’s even more heartbreaking than anyone assumed. More under the cut.
The real strength of this book could have been the argument of morality. Hideo believes what he is doing is right and will make the world a better place if he can curb people’s impulses to commit crimes but it also takes away their free will. How far are we as a society willing to go to keep ourselves safe and who gets to decide what is a crime and what isn’t? The murkiness of Hideo’s decision is up for debate, even more so when those with less idealized have plans for his technology. She could have really explored this but chose to keep it more in the background and focus on saving Sasuke from his situation. Which is fine because it made for a compelling story but I feel an opportunity was missed. It was at times that what Hideo did was more of an afterthought to what was going on with Sasuke. That being said, I did like the ending and how it was resolved but won’t say more because that would be a straight out spoiler. So yes, go read both Warcross and Wildcard.